Sunday Rewind: Revisiting Seahawks 21-20 Week 1 Victory Over Bengals
After falling short against the Cowboys during the 2018 NFC Wild Card game, the Seahawks were looking to start the 2019 season off on the right foot. Luckily, that’s exactly what happened during the first game of the regular season, though it wasn't an easy season opener.
While Seattle’s defense struggled to defend the passing game, allowing 418 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes, they were able to hold Cincinnati to a field goal in the fourth quarter, persevering the team’s one-point lead until the scoreboard read all zeros.
Let’s look back upon some of the critical moments that ultimately led to Seahawks’ 21-20 victory over the Bengals during the opening matchup of the 2019 campaign.
1. Seattle holds Cincinnati to a field goal in the first quarter.
After failing to convert on third down, Seattle was forced to punt the football back to Cincinnati with just over 10 minutes left in the opening period. While the Seahawks forced a fourth down just five plays later, linebacker Cody Barton’s running into the kicker penalty provided the Bengals’ offense with new life and a first down near midfield.
Following this infraction, Cincinnati was able to advance deep into Seattle territory, but their drive stalled inside the team’s red zone. As a result of a delay of game penalty, the Bengals’ offense was pushed back five yards and they needed to gain seven yards for the first down.
With the Bengals looking to move the chains, safety Bradley McDougald was positioned at the scrimmage line and chased quarterback Andy Dalton out of the pocket, forcing him to throw the ball away and Cincinnati had to settle for a 39-yard field goal.
Since Seattle won by just one point, the outcome of this game could’ve been altered significantly if Cincinnati was able to score a touchdown rather than a field goal on that promising first quarter drive.
2. This time as a receiver, Chris Carson scores his second touchdown to help Seattle re-gain the lead.
Trailing 10-7 with less than two minutes left in the first half, the Seahawks were looking to take the lead heading into halftime. Attempting to rapidly push their offense into scoring position, quarterback Russell Wilson connected with receiver D.K. Metcalf for an incredible 42-yard reception.
Just two plays later, at Cincinnati’s 10-yard line, Carson caught a short pass in the flats from Wilson and surged past the first down marker along with breaking multiple tackles on his way to the end zone. Placing the ball over the pylon before being pushed out of bounds, the 5-foot-11 running back provided his team with a 14-10 lead with 52 seconds left in the second quarter.
With the Bengals answering with a touchdown of their own before halftime, the Seahawks would’ve trailed by seven points as opposed to just three points without Carson’s second touchdown. In addition, there’s also a very good chance this game could’ve stretched into overtime, as Seattle would’ve needed to produce more than 10 points to avoid playing beyond regulation.
3. Lightning strikes as Tyler Lockett’s 44-yard touchdown pushes Seattle back in front.
Down 17-14 with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, Seattle’s defense was able to force a turnover on fourth down at their own 36-yard line. Just two plays later, Wilson found Metcalf once again for a 25-yard reception, positioning the Seahawks to the Bengals' 34-yard line.
Even though a holding penalty by right tackle Germain Ifedi pushed the Seahawks back 10 yards, it didn’t stop them from finding the end zone on the next play. Thanks to a critical mistake by the Bengals’ secondary, Lockett blew past his defender and found himself wide open in the middle of the field, resulting in a 44-yard touchdown reception.
Providing his team with a 21-17 lead in the fourth quarter, Lockett’s score proved to be insurmountable for the Bengals’ offense. Despite cutting Seattle’s lead to 21-20 with a 27-yard field goal halfway through the fourth quarter, Cincinnati couldn’t add to their total over the final seven minutes of the game.
4. A third down stop late in the fourth quarter seals Seattle's first victory.
With five and a half minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Bengals’ offense still had plenty of time to take back the lead. Starting on their own 29-yard line, Dalton needed to gain at least 30 yards to put his team into field goal range, which was certainly attainable for the veteran quarterback.
Facing a critical third down, Cincinnati was positioned seven yards short of yard marker and a first down could’ve placed them into scoring position. Luckily for Seattle, a team effort from defensive ends Branden Jackson and Quinton Jefferson led to an incompletion and forced the Bengals to punt the ball with just over three minutes left in the game.
Putting Cincinnati’s comeback hopes to rest, defensive end Rasheem Green stripped the ball away from Dalton with just 14 seconds left in the fourth quarter, allowing teammate Tre Flowers to recover the fumble. Following a kneel down from Wilson, Seattle was awarded its first victory of the season.